Friday, June 24, 2011

Chambers aren't Only Groups Studying Stadium Funding

As the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce teams up with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce to study ways to finance a new Rays stadium somewhere in Tampa Bay, a separate effort to research private financing is already underway. The big difference: the second effort is focused on Downtown Tampa.

Ryan Neubauer, who two years ago launched, “Build it Downtown Tampa,” has been quietly working behind-the-scenes with area business leaders on a way to get the Rays across the bay. Careful not to interfere with St. Pete’s use agreement with the team, Neubauer holds several specifics close to the vest.

But by September, Neubauer – and his partners in the grass-roots effort – expect to release a specific report on a Downtown location and financing package they think could be the solution to the Stadium Saga.

"This recommendation can't rely on any significant public funds,” Neubauer said, adding that business leaders will need to step up like never before to close a monstrous gap in funding a half-billion dollar stadium.

Meanwhile, the two chambers have been meeting to study how stadiums have been built not just in the U.S., but internationally. They want to further the work the ABC Coalition did from 2008 to 2010.

"The ABC Coalition looked primarily at potential locations,” said Bob Rohrlack, President of the Greater Tampa Chamber. “That's the one thing we are not discussing. What we're discussing is how to fund the facility."

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